By Jacob Bourne
On September 6 a public scoping meeting was held at San Jose City Hall as part of the environmental review process for a proposed mixed-use project at 70 South Almaden Avenue. Developer KT Urban seeks to build two residential towers over ground floor retail at the site of the Greyhound Bus Station. The project is poised to not only become an iconic landmark for the Downtown skyline, but also stimulate a largely inactive part of the neighborhood.[contextly_sidebar id=”3oFQWczFeDzjjdlEaHYgb7sWf55ruSWP”]“To date Silvery Towers is the largest Downtown development, but this will eclipse it as the largest,” said Scott Knies, executive director, San Jose Downtown Association. “It’s a key block. The site is really interesting in terms of where the Downtown is moving. KT Urban is our most prolific Downtown developer; they have a proven track record developing Downtown. I can’t imagine a better development to take over the site.”
If the project receives approval, the Greyhound Station, a single-story commercial building and surface parking lot would be demolished on the 1.74-acre site to make way for the construction of a 23-story north tower and a 24-story south tower. The structures will be 242 and 252 feet respectively, and offer a total of 781 for-sale housing units. The residences will be a range of studio to three-bedrooms but may also feature an extra-small studio floor plan depending on the outcome of a market study.
Building amenities include a package concierge service in response to increased use of e-commerce. The service is automated so residents will receive alerts such as text messages regarding the status of deliveries. The third level will feature a planted community deck with fitness spaces and lounge areas. A sky deck on the upper floors will give residents benefits similar to a roof deck but will save about $150,000 in the costs necessary to build additional stair and elevator access to the actual roof.
The ground floor retail will front South Almaden Avenue and Post Street for a total of 20,000 square feet of leasable space. The first and second levels will provide parking that’s hidden from street view above two additional levels of subterranean parking totaling 786 spaces. Current plans don’t incorporate parking spaces devoted to retail uses. The ground floor will also feature 195 bicycle parking spaces including a bike salon providing repair and cleaning functions. A dog washing station may be added to the space at a later date.
Kevin Sauser, principal at C2K Architecture, is working on the project and described the design as a “modern unitized facade system.” The towers will feature a series of L-shaped and C-shaped framing elements to break the exterior down into smaller masses. Vision glass will be utilized on the ground floor to highlight retail offerings. Though businesses haven’t been identified, the commercial space will cater to residents and people working in the area, rather than destination retail. A mix of cafes, restaurants, a drugstore, and dry cleaners are anticipated, and according to Knies, will create continuity with a walkable shopping district further down on Post Street.
“It’ll add over 700 units — it’s like an instant neighborhood,” expressed Knies. “It’s the opposite of dense right now. With this development people will be walking down the street with their dogs, visiting restaurants and walking to work. It will dramatically change this segment of Downtown. This is a developer that’s performing. We want to see this get done.”
“It’s the largest residential project in the Downtown core right now,” said Sauser. “It’ll help reinvigorate a section of Downtown that’s struggling with underutilization. It will draw residents to help create a vibrant Downtown.”
The project’s preliminary design review has been completed and the CEQA process is in progress including prerequisites such as the scoping meeting. The public comment period for the environmental review ends on September 23. Pending entitlements and full approval, Sauser expects the project to be three years away from completion.